Holistic holidays for summer 2015

Speed up your personal evolution this summer with one these transformative travel experiences

Sustainable Lifestyles, Greece
Kalikalos is a retreat nestled between the Pelion Mountains of Greece and the sandy beaches of the Aegean. This centre of holistic education was set up by members of the Findhorn Community to provide summer holidays that go deeper than just the tan on your skin. Workshops run May-September and offer everything from tai chi and yoga to focusing and ecopsychology. But one of the more unique options is the Big Picture sustainability retreat (June 12-19) in which participants are given the knowledge, experience and practical tools required to steer themselves, and their communities, in a more sustainable direction. From €300 per person including all meals, accommodation and activities. Flights not included.

Mindful Families, France
Plum Village, in southern France, is a monastery and Buddhist practice centre set up by the revered Vietnamese monk and scholar Thich Nhat Hanh – who was once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. During their July summer retreat a special programme of mindful play aimed at children aged 6-12, and mindful activity aimed at teenagers, offers an early introduction to mindfulness through outdoor sports, arts and crafts. While the kids are busy parents have a chance to unwind with daily Dharma talks, meditation sessions and community work. Time in between is for family fun, healthy food, campfires and more.

Chocolate Yoga, Grenada
It may sound like a contradiction in terms, but chocolate yoga is real and it’s guilt free. Grenada, one of the most authentic and sustainably-managed of all the Caribbean Islands, will play host this June to the world’s first chocolate yoga retreat. Using only Grenadian-grown, sustainable cocoa – which benefits local farmers – participants will indulge in pre- and post-yoga tastings, mindfulness chocolate meditations, tours of local cocoa plantations and workshops on the health benefits of chocolate. There’s also a unique underwater scuba yoga programme – perhaps the only time in the entire week when chocolate is not on the menu.

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Intuitive Horse, Sussex
Equine therapy is more than just horsing around. Horses are empathic animals, attuned to body language and emotion. Which is also why they’re so useful for personal development: they’re like a mirror to your mental state – if you’re anxious or stressed the horse will be too. Evidence suggests that close contact with horses helps foster a calm mind and shows us the often invisible effects our emotional states have on the environment around us. They’re also just a lot of fun to be around. Intuitive Horse is a family-run farm in East Sussex offering equine-assisted personal development workshops geared at increasing self-confidence, wellbeing, intuition and emotional intelligence. No equestrian experience required, all work is ground based – no riding. Three-day retreats are held March-November from £280 per person. Accommodation not included. One-to-one sessions are available, too.

Wild Fitness, Spain
Wild Fitness Retreats will transform your approach to looking and feeling good. Based on principles of rewilding, participants embark on a body-transforming week in the natural world. It’s hard-core, but the results are more than just physical. Based on the three principles of wild movement, wild eating and wild living, exercise becomes playful, eating raw and relaxation is as plentiful as exertion. Spend a week this June on a 1250 acre estate in Andalucía, Spain, sleeping in a 17th century Cortijo, climbing trees, running barefoot, trekking mountains and attending workshops about the wild lifestyle philosophy. From £1,995 per person including all accommodation, food and activities. Wild Fitness holidays are also available in the UK, Crete and Zanzibar.

Positive Travel is edited by Aaron Millar. He writes about adventure travel, and personal development through exploring the world, at The Blue Dot Perspective.